I grew up moving from place to place. Dramatic cultural transitions defined each move: Hawaii to suburban Chicago; Rio Grande du Sol, Brazil to Heber City, Utah; Woking, Surrey, England to Houston, Texas. This process, along with an entrenched fondness for long road trips, has inspired my investigation of rootlessness, of moving through space without connecting to it. My work examines spaces from the perspective of an outsider looking in, positioning the viewer to gaze intimately at things that are temporary, generally ignored, or distorted by memory.
Employing a range of media, my work reenacts the act of searching, of hunting for clues from the past to build new connections to the present. Drawing on source material such as maps, engineering schematics, official documents, newspaper articles, internet ephemera, and the personal stories of friends and strangers, I often use labor-intensive processes to render richly layered images of things often forgotten or taken for granted. I look for relationships between different types of experiences, searching for evidence in the landscape of patterns and cycles that reveal our own fragile natures, as humans, in relation to it. It is my hope that the work inspires questions about where we are, physically and psychologically, in relation to what surrounds us.
Born in 1969 in Wahiawa, Hawaii, I have shown my work in galleries, museums and in the public realm throughout the United States, in Europe and in Japan. In 2001, I earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and have completed residencies at McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, North Carolina, and at Winthrop University in South Carolina. I have curated several exhibitions and collaborative projects, including Cracks in the Pavement: Gifts in the Urban Landscape, involving artists from around the world, and most recently, Love Letter, a collection of collaborative site-specific works presented in New York and Paris. Weehawken, New Jersey is my current home.
~Heather L. Johnson
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